How much life experience do you need to write and perform an autobiographical one-person show? Charlie's Port, the children's theater of the new Atlanta performing arts company Metropolis Port, puts the question to the test with Jason David's Waiting for My Growth Spurt, playing April 24-May 10 at 14th Street Playhouse.
What was your first play? Did you act in plays at school? I didn't do school plays. The first play I did was Bunnicula at Synchronicity [Performance Group] in August of 2006. My dad's on the board at Synchronicity, and they asked kids to audition for the show. I just decided to audition to see if I could get the part, and I did. It was fun.
Where did the idea for your one-person show come from? I was in another show called A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. Mary Claire Dunn, our director for that show, started her theater, Charlie's Port, and thought I would be one who could do a one-man show – not to sound cocky. I was very thankful for the opportunity.
When did you decide to write it, and what's it about? She was thinking that someone could write it for me, but I thought I'd give it a shot, and here we are. I spent most of the summer writing it. I wanted it to be the thoughts of an average 13-year-old and my perspective on the issues of today, growing up in a Jewish/Irish household.
What are some of the things you talk about in the play? A lot of it is about my family. It's about the difference between how Jewish parents and Irish parents raise their children. I think Irish parents have less of a grasp of their children because they might have six or seven of them. Jews have one or two. I also talk about Jessica Simpson. I'm in love with her, so she takes up a good 10 minutes of the show.
When you're playing yourself onstage, do you have to exaggerate yourself? It's definitely an exaggeration of myself, as most shows are. In the show I'm about 10 percent more annoying than I normally am.
What do your parents think of it? My dad helped me edit it, so he knows it about as well as I do. My mom started reading it, and then stopped because she wanted to be surprised when she sees it finished on opening night. We've tried very hard to make it work with school. Sometimes I have to wake up early to finish my homework.
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